Subject Overview

Mathematics is a wide-ranging subject that is both practical and theoretical, geared to applications and of intrinsic interest. Its manifestations permeate the natural and constructed world and provide the language and techniques for handling many aspects of everyday and scientific life. It is also an intellectual discipline that deals with abstractions and logical argument.
Junior Certificate Mathematics is offered at three levels: Foundation, Ordinary and Higher, with separate syllabuses for each level.


Subject content is presented at each syllabus level under the headings:

  • Sets
  • Number systems
  • Applied arithmetic and measure
  • Algebra
  • Statistics (and data handling at Foundation level)
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry (Ordinary level and Higher level only)
  • Functions and graphs (and relations at Foundation level)


Junior Certificate mathematics is examined at all three levels by means of terminal examination papers. There is one examination paper at Foundation level and two at Ordinary and Higher levels.


The current syllabuses were introduced in 2000 and first examined in 2003. The NCCA is currently conducting a review of post-primary mathematics education.


Junior Certificate Mathematics Syllabus (Foundation, Ordinary and Higher level)
Junior Certificate Mathematics – Guidelines for Teachers